Your wedding ceremony is about you and your fiancé so make it YOURS! There are no rules in weddings. Make it unique and meaningful to the two of you and it’s sure to be an unforgettable day. It truly is the little details that make the day personal. Check out some elements we included to make our big day memorable to us! (Note: There may or may not have been several pop culture references throughout our ceremony….psst there were LOTS!)Read More
After months and months of planning, you’ve made it to the final countdown. This is where the excitement butterflies start fo’ real because it’s crunch time. And while you can find fantastic wedding planning checklists online, we wanted to share some tips for final countdown that made an impact for us in the final stages of our wedding planning process.Read More
We loved the chance to have some fun with our ring bearer. Ring security is a great option for boys, especially if they are slightly older than typical ring bearer age, because it gives them a better sense of the importance of their role in the big day. Plus “the costume” for the job is a suit and makes wearing one more enjoyable if you’re playing the security agent role seriously.Read More
Make your guests feel welcome as soon as they arrive with a welcome bag filled with local goodies and personal touches. Welcome bags are a great way to say “Thank you for making the trip, we are so excited you are here, and want you to relax and enjoy yourself!” Plus they are really fun to put together. :)Read More
For us the biggest benefit of hosting an intimate wedding was in QUALITY! Quality time with guests, quality of food, quality of location, quality of service, etc. Being able to put an emphasis on quality, really gave everyone the unforgettable, luxe experience we wanted.Read More
Everyone’s priorities are different—from couple to couple and even from couple to their parents—so I’d recommend establishing your priorities as a couple first then discussing with your parents (especially if they are helping pay). Hopefully all the lists will overlap though there will likely need to be some compromises made.Read More
LeBraun and I had always pictured a late autumn / early winter wedding. We’ve never been summer people and the majority of our personal events, like birthdays and anniversaries, are in the spring. We always wanted to add an event to the fall for us to celebrate. Well that and the fact that my favorite month has always been October. Additionally I naturally run hot and anything above 75 degrees is almost too much for me.
So when our families gave us a date range of end of July through mid-August (mostly due to my dad’s job and the fact that the kids involved would be on summer holidays), we were thrown for a loop.
Luckily we’d discussed and always had our heart set on a small destination wedding.
We’ve been to several large-scale weddings, including my now brother and sister-in-laws wedding September 2017, where it felt like we didn’t get to chat or at least say “hey” to the majority of people in attendance, fully enjoy the meal, or spend enough time on the dance floor. And we were just guests.
We wanted to be able to fully enjoy our wedding day, eat the meal we had been craving since the tasting, have meaningful conversations with the guests that made the journey to celebrate with us, and not feel like we missed out on time with friends who we don’t see as often as we would like.
But the biggest draw was that we L-O-V-E new adventures and wanted to share out passion with those closest to us.
Why We Choose Maui
The short and short is that the weather is consistent and it felt exotic without being out of reach for most guests.
If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, it doesn’t feel like you’re still in the U.S. The Polynesian culture, breathtaking nature, surf and sand make it feel like you’ve found a private escape.
During August the weather ranges between mid-70s and 80s, much more bearable than the 100 degrees/100 humidity nightmare that Nashville experiences when summer rolls around.
Several major airlines offer flights to Maui (OGG-Kahului Airport) from the mainland and any U.S. guests won’t need a passport. And being able to celebrate with our nearest and dearest was very important to us.
One phrase we kept using during planning was “a memorable experience” for our guests, and not only does just the word “Hawaii” make people happy, it’s a great excuse for some time off and to check the islands off their travel bucket lists. Maui has something for everyone so no one will get bored. They can relax on the beach, try surfing, snorkel with sea turtle, go hiking in rainforests, take a catamaran around the island, and much more. All of our guests stayed at least six days. We ended up joking that the plan was actually to vacation with all our friends, with a wedding thrown in. :)
Weddings, in nature, often tend to be stressful so why not take a cue from the locals, slow it down, and enjoy the events on “island time.”
Another location we were seriously considering was the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia because it holds a special place in our hearts. It’s a place we’ve spent time every summer since we started dating; however, over the past couple years they have suffered terrible forest fires during the summer months. Since we wanted an outdoor wedding and to roast s’mores for dessert (which you can’t do with a fire ban) it wasn’t working.
Don’t let that discourage you though, they are tons of beautiful vineyards, orchards, lakeside and/or mountain-side spots for weddings in BC.
You’re In Maui, Why Not Have A Beach Wedding?
“Oh, yeah, wedding in Hawaii- real original!” - Peter Bretter, Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Getting married in Hawaii is not an original idea. There were even two other brides on the plane to Maui with us, both of which were getting married at beachfront venues.
As a couple we've just never been beach people, preferring ski trips to beach trips, and winter weather to summer weather. Not that we don't love the beach, there’s almost nothing better than walking barefoot on a beach and letting the sand squish between your toes.
Though to each his own. If you are considering a beach wedding do take in account that the sound of the breeze and the waves crashing does make it quite loud. But toes in the sand still does sound lovely…:)
All photography by [Teale Photography]
Destinations wedding planning isn’t always as easy, breezy as you’d expect. Make sure you know what you’re committing too (and how others may react) if you’re thinking about an intimate destination wedding.Read More
Just like every other girl on Pinterest I had a board dedicated to my future wedding, continuously pinning unique placecards, bouquets I liked, elements to add personality…etc.
However once we choose our venue + with the date range we were given by our families, (almost) all of it went out the window.
LeBraun and I had always pictured a late autumn / early winter wedding featuring deep burgundy and navy with copper accents. Perhaps even some snow outside. So when our families gave us a date range of end of July through mid-August we were thrown for a loop.
Luckily we’d discussed and always had our heart set on a small destination wedding. However with any destination wedding, especially one where you don't have family or friends already “on-the-ground” at the location, you have to put your trust completely in your wedding planner and their team—a things that sounds simple, but for a hands-on person like myself can be challenging and a true test in trust.
Thankfully we were blessed to have the fabulous team at Belle Destination Weddings & Events in Maui handling our event.
WHY DO WE NEED A WEEDING MOOD BOARD?
Making a wedding mood board is one of the most helpful activities you and your fiancé can do in the wedding planning process, and one I would recommend doing sooner than later. You can always update it, but it gives you a great jumping off point—helping to make decisions about the look of your day and define the overall vibe of the wedding.
It also helps focus in on what’s really important to the two of you for your big day, and makes communicating your vision to vendors way, way easier. Words can be misinterpreted easier than pictures.
Remember, elements don’t need to be exact, but need to help communicate your vision…things you like / don’t like, etc. Make sure to be thoughtful in your decisions. For example, if you’re wedding is in December chances are your centerpieces won’t contain sunflowers, even if your heart is set on it. They’re a summer flower.
To get started, try answering these questions as a couple or separately then discussing together. Remember the first rule of marriage is be willing to compromise.
- If you’ve picked a date: What time of year / season is your big day?
- If you’ve picked a location: What’s the weather like at the location during your date?
- If you’ve picked a venue or know what you’re looking for: Will the ceremony be inside, outside, or some of both?
- Are there any colors specifically important to you?
- What five adjectives would you use to describe your day? Here are some popular options: Rustic, Modern, Bohemian, Industrial, Classic, Vintage, Adventurous, Colorful, Minimalist, Bright, Exciting, Cozy, Romantic, Glamorous, Intimate, Casual, Formal, Elegant, Whimsical, Beachy, Carefree…
None of these words are exclusive and can be used in any combination; however I would recommend sticking to a max of five words so the direction doesn’t become convoluted. These adjectives will also be used to guide your mood board.
- When your friends and family look back at your wedding, how would you like them to remember it?
- What elements would you love or hate to see on your wedding day?
- Think about any weddings you have attending. Was there anything specific you loved or hated?
- Brides: Think about your dream gown. Is there a specific style or era of dress style you are drawn to? Elements like art deco beading or layers of ballgown tulle can lend themselves to different styles of events. Once you actually go to some bridal appointments you may even be surprised at which dress you say “yes” to. And shh…you don’t have to be obvious about your dress plans to your fiancé, just casual mention that you like, for example, texture if you’re looking for a gown with elaborate beading. Boys have no clue about anything, and that’s just the truth. :)
- Anything else that is important to you on your big day?
Note: You mood board will evolve over time as your event comes together. We added and removed things as we honed in on each element, but a mood board is perfect for referring back to when making decisions. Continuously ask yourself, "Does this decision reflect our overall vibe / theme?"
OUR WEDDING MOOD BOARD
Try and answer the questions above without reading through this next part first. I don’t want our decisions to affect your decisions.
Here’s how we answered each of the questions:
- If you’ve picked a date: What time of year / season is your big day? Summer, early-August
- If you’ve picked a location: What’s the weather like at the location during your date? Upcountry Maui, Hawaii with a temperature average of mid-80’s in August.
- If you’ve picked a venue or know what you’re looking for: Will the ceremony be inside, outside, or some of both? Ceremony and reception both outside. Since our venue was on an olive farm we would already be surrounded by tons of greenery and wanted to focus on greenery with floral accents (roughly 75% greenery / 25% florals).
- Are there any colors specifically important to you? Nothing specific.
- What five adjectives would you use to describe your day? Timeless, lush, fun, romantic + intimate
- When your friends and family look back at your wedding, how would you like them to remember it? Memorable, laid-back + joyful
- What elements would you love or hate to see on your wedding day? We would love to serve an interesting and delicious meal, incorporating local flavors—something you wouldn't expect at a wedding.
- Think about any weddings you have attending. Was there anything specific you loved or hated? Great music, delicious food, and a variety of seating / tables are musts.
- Is there a specific style or era of dress style you are drawn to? I love accenting my waist, emphasizing my boobs (tastefully of course!), and was definitely set on a flowy, large yet light, ballgown. When else can you wear a giant white gown? :)
- Anything else that is important to you on your big day? Having a top-notch photo and video team was important to us. I didn’t factor in to our mood board, but definitely was important for budget and timeline purposes.
OUR INITIAL WEDDING MOOD BOARDS
So without further adu, here’s what our initial mood board looked like. Since we were working with a team across the country, we wrote what we liked about specific images on our mood boards so avoid misinterpretation. We also added an additional page for floral and decor elements specifically since the planner was handling all vendor communication.
All these photos came from Pinterest. We don't own them.
OUR FINAL WEDDING MOOD BOARDS
As the planning process went on, we were able to narrow done on our mood board and really define the style with the help our planner, venue, floral, and decor teams. Note how the final mood boards (below) are more cohesive overall while still capturing our laid-back, timeless vibe.
Without these mood boards we wouldn't have been able to clearly communicate our vision for the big day. And since LeBraun and I are both terrible decision makers, having a visual aid helped us express what we were thinking to everyone involved.
WHERE TO FIND WEDDING INSPIRATION FOR YOUR MOOD BOARDS?
Inspiration can come from everywhere.
Use any combinations of your five adjectives for more tailored results on Google, Pinterest, and wedding websites (like Style Me pretty) searches.
Also use words relating to location, venue style, season, and size of event for additional results.
For example, we researched “vineyard wedding,” “orchard wedding,” “summer wedding,” “Maui wedding,” “intimate wedding,” and more.
These options should yield tons of results. Save your favorites in a folder on your computer or to a Pinterest board—something easy to reference. Once you feel like you’ve found your defining images, narrow them down and create an initial board that encapsulates the spirit of your event.
And don't think all your searches need to contain the word "wedding." Sometimes "party" or "event" can yield a wider range of results.
When you’re ready to get more specific, try the searches again but instead of following the adjectives with “wedding,” use “florals,” or “decor,” etc.
Add these to your initial designs and make sure to carry a copy with you to all your meetings and give a copy to each of your vendors. Just make sure to give them updated versions as you go along!
Happy mood boarding!
Crunchy vegetables scattered amongst warm, seasoned rice with bites of fresh, juicy pineapple that burst in your mouth.Read More
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All photography by @studioist.
So in case you missed it—though I’m not sure how you could have as we have been singing from the rooftops since August 3—LeBraun + I got MAUI’D!
After the wedding we broke away from the group and heading to Oahu for what we dubbed “Our Hawaiian Mini-Moon!” It was our chance to actually relax on the vacation.
Don’t get me wrong, a destination wedding can be very relaxing and our’s was, but there is still coordinating people and activities, entertaining guests, and prepping involved. We did our best to plan ahead so we didn’t have a ton to do when we got to Maui, but there is always inevitably more to do.
We love everyone that flew across the country to celebrate with us, and no one was a needy guest (you know exactly the type of people I am talking about), but when we arrived on Oahu we realized we really needed some normal “us” time.
Our first evening we walked along the beach, had a fantastic dinner, took long showers, put on our robes, and watched a couple episodes of the new season of Orange is the New Black. And there was no better place to do nothing and really enjoy Waikiki than the Laylow Hotel.
LeBraun and I were luckily enough to spend seven blissful, relaxing nights at the Laylow Hotel in Waikiki. This trendy, boutique hotel is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection.
Every corner of this midcentury modern space is an Instagrammer’s dream!
The colorful, patterned walls, hanging egg chairs, sandy-bottom fire pit corners on the lanai, and shelves of Hawaiian tchotchkes add to the charm.
The hotel is tucked away just above Kūhiō Avenue and the hustle of Waikiki, yet the ambiance transports and makes you feel like you’ve found a hidden oasis in the heart of it all.
Ideal for city dwellers like us who want to enjoy everything Waikiki has the offer yet feel like you can escape it all whenever you like.
It’s right next door to the restaurants and shopping at International Marketplace, across the street from Marukame Udon (go there!!), a couple blocks from the beach, and within walking distance of countless eateries, stores, activities, and more.
Just as the name suggests it was the perfect place for us to hideout and lay low at the center of this thriving metropolis.
The rooms are streamlined and minimalistic yet still have amenities (like a mini fridge).
The shelves have a variety of books for pursuing, like a book on Hawaiian mythology, another filled with photos of retro surfers, and a book of letters and pictures from sailors on shore leave during the war.
The bed was comfortable, sheets were clean and crisp, and there were conventional three-prong and usb outlets built into the nightstand.
Our room had a small porch overlooking the pool area which was perfect for enjoying drinks in the evening. The curtains were great and kept the room dark enough for us to sleep in every morning. Compared to the plantation-style shutters our Maui rooms had, we were in heaven!
I was particularly obsessed with the vibrant, focal wall. Don’t be surprised if a morning photoshoot breaks out in your room!
We didn’t spend any time in the pool during our stay because access to the beach was only a couple blocks away, but we did spend part of every evening on the pool deck.
The relaxed, lounge chairs were “our place” in the evenings. When the sun disappeared and the weather was still pleasantly warm, we would bring down our computers and get a little work done, play a game, or have a private “outdoor screening” of a movie.
THE FOOD & DRINK
Hideout, the hotel’s sole restaurant, is a stylish, open-air lanai with fresh, Pacific fusion dishes.
With a variety of seating options from traditional tables, lounging clusters, and cushioned corners, Hideout is flexible. Just like some outfits the venue can go from day to night. Meet with colleagues at lunch, friends for happy hour (or pua hana), and besties for late night drinks.
The space hosts live musicians nightly and DJs on Friday and Saturday nights. Despite being only a few floors up, we couldn’t hear the music downstairs when we turned in early.
Plus the sun falls behind the neighboring building in the afternoon so the patio is pleasantly cooler, especially after being in the sun most of the day.
Their funky, retro coffee shop serves up all your morning favorites including Stumptown Coffee, pastries (LeBraun couldn’t function without his morning Cruffin) and acai bowls with granola, bananas, honey, and more.
The lunch and dinner menu are largely the same, though there are a few larger additions available on the later menu. Some may think that eating at your hotel is lazy, but having a bomb-a** restaurant a few steps from your room is just another benefit of staying at the Laylow.
We ordered a variety of dishes from the menu, for different meals and the dishes were always brought out quickly, consistently delicious, and served by a friendly staff member.
For breakfast, I didn’t vary much from my norm—acai bowl + LeBraun, even though, he’s not much of a breakfast person, enjoyed the Breakfast Fried Rice Skillet and a Cruffin. Also usually accompanied by an iced mocha.
For lunch or afternoon apps, the edamame in Korean chili and sweet soy is finger-lickin’ good, and chicken satay is savory and satisfying, and margherita flat bread…well it’s pizza and pizza is delicious!
For dinner, we enjoyed the local veggie rice bowls, Hawaiian BBQ chicken tacos, island greens salad, and catch of the day were all great, but the Huli Huli Chicken (Kiawe smoked, coconut rice, Chinese long bean, sweet soy) is the dish I would order over and over again! I’m going to have to try and recreate this recipe. If anyone has one, PLEASE send it to me!
Drink-wise: The signature cocktails were unique blends of traditional meet Hawaiian. My favorite was the Fancyman (Four Roses Whiskey, Lillet, Yellow Chartreuse, Rose Syrup, Orange Bitters) while LeBraun was partial to the “Purr”fect Timing (Basil-Infused Vodka, Yuzuri, Lilikoi, Lemon Juice).
Besides the standard amenities like towels for the pool or beach, there is daily complimentary shave ice, drink samples, weekly ukulele lessons, and a welcome basket with locally made goodies like taro chips and shortbread cookies, a rubber ducky, and flip flops with the hotel’s tropical wallpaper pattern.
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